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Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties is proud to announce the addition of a new course to its Homeownership Program education curriculum in partnership with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. The “Community Policing & You” course will provide Habitat homeowners with tools to increase their knowledge on crime prevention, safety and community policing.

Habitat homeownership candidates must demonstrate a need for adequate shelter; the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and be willing to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours and complete 20 homeownership classes. The education curriculum is designed to provide skills and knowledge to be a successful homeowner; tools that a traditional home buyer might not have. They learn how to budget, how to stay away from predatory lending, and how to be a good neighbor. Eight of these required classes revolve around the financial portion of being a homeowner. The new course, “Community Policing & You”, will be available to Habitat homeowner candidates on January 27th, 2021.

“At Habitat, our work calls us to change lives and perspectives in community in which we live. In partnership with the Sheriff’s Office, we’re confident that this new course will help do just that by strengthening community connections, transforming misguided perceptions about police and policing, and be an avenue for positive community change”, said Mike Sutton, president and CEO of the Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco.

The “Community Policing & You” course will be led by Deputy Will Lawson, and subject matter will include Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED); knowing your neighbors/lighting/ general safety tips; Community Policing and will provide local Community Resources.

“We’re excited to strengthen our partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties by providing ‘Community Policing & You’, a new educational opportunity for Habitat homeowners”, said Sheriff Gualtieri. “This partnership furthers our commitment to Community Oriented Policing, while providing PCSO with yet another way to positively impact the community.”

The course will empower homeowners and their children to get hands on experience with their course material. Children of homeowner candidates now have a new way to contribute to their parent’s sweat equity requirement by engaging in a local initiative such as the My Brothers/Sister Keeper initiative, Teen Police Academy and mentorship. Habitat homeowner candidates also have new opportunities to earn sweat equity hours though engaging in the Citizens Academy or other programs.

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